Tag Archives: family

Fall Family Fashion Show

The kids and I decided to dress up and take some photos of our fall finery. Darcy played photographer.

Turtleneck: INC. Shrug: Banana Republic, 2006. Skirt: Banana Republic, 2006. Belt: MiL bought in Italy in the 90s, boots: Hunter, new.

Pin: my grandmother’s.

My son took this photo!!

My daughter’s outfit: Dress, Gap Kids. Necklace: unknown. Bracelet: J Crew. Headband: Janie & Jack. Sunglasses: unknown.

My son’s outfit: Pirate kerchief: unknown. Shirt: H&M. Shorts: Gap Kids. Shoes: Crocs.

We had a fun time, and it reminded me that we have only ever taken a family portrait once. And we didn’t love it. Do you invest in formal family portraits?

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Little Fish Fry: Fashion Edition

My daughter loves clothes. (Shocker, replied no one.) She chooses her own outfits. Lord forbid I suggest anything!

Today she wanted to run into puddles and dodge raindrops. Unfortunately, there were only clouds to be had, but she enjoyed dressing for the occasion anyway.

We’ve gotten a lot of use out of a size 3 raincoat we bought when she was two: we rolled up the sleeves for a long time. Now, the coat is getting too small. Items I buy new for my kids: raingear (which can last a long time), shoes properly fitted, bathing suits, undergarments, socks. That’s about it! I buy a lot on sale and on consignment, and I buy big sizes that they can grow into. The problem with twins? No hand-me-downs :(

In this outfit: Western Chief raincoat, 2010. Horse rainboots, Western Chief, 2011. (Yes, they are on the wrong feet. Yes, she knows. No, she will not change them.) Dress: Janie & Jack, 2010.

Kids clothes: what do you buy new? Do you buy at consignment stores?

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“We Will All…Fall”

“We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point of our lives (pause) fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts, that what we have is special. That it can be taken away from us, and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.”

Coach Taylor, Friday Night Lights

Life is brutally hard, sometimes. For me, anyway. I have found great solace lately in focusing on the positive, whether by changing my thought patterns or through my own vision. Seeing with my own eyes the dazzling natural beauty we are surrounded by, observing the goodness of the mundane: it helps. I use my curiosity about the world to wonder why my tomatoes didn’t grow very well this year, and why my chard did. I enjoy satiating my own children’s curiosity by exploring topics they want to know more about. I make their lunch with homegrown apples and carrots and fine organic yogurt from our local creamery: this makes me happy. I keep up with the laundry, taking pride in the excellent folding I do. I provide the twins with fresh, downy sheets and towels and underwear and socks. I rearrange my closet with cute, pre-arranged outfits, complete with jewelry and shoes, to make getting out the door easier. I try to outfit our life with beauty.

Even reading the list above makes it easy to remember that I did some good today, even though I failed more than I succeeded, that I feel so alone in my day-to-day life. That I feel so achingly responsible for everything and everybody.

Infertility and loss (and did you know that it was pregnancy and infant loss remembrance month?) is when I fell, to quote Coach Taylor. Those experiences tested me, severely. They isolated me. They made me look inside myself.

Today I was chatting to Darcy about my college experience (a four year sojourn in one of the most beautiful places on earth where I made many friends and spent most days in yellow sunshine), as opposed to the miserable East Coast weather and highly academically competitive university he went to. He often thinks I went to the wrong school: that those sunny, mellow years didn’t suit my personality or make me as tough as I need to be. I don’t know: in some ways, he’s right. But in other ways, I’m glad I have that bedrock of happiness to look back on.

Because when I fell, first during my illness and then my failed IVF cycle and loss, I needed to remember what happiness was. Happiness was running on a warm abandoned beach with the surf gently beating a slow tattoo, while I gazed upon a sailboat harbored, glittering in the sunlight. Joy was boarding the EuroStar and arriving at the Gare du Nord, and noticing that even the ugliest buildings in Paris had beautiful architectural details and balconies that welcomed coffee breaks.

Parenting twins is not parenting triplets or quads. But it is the Mt. McKinley of parenting, especially when your husband works such tough hours and the kids are testing boundaries like those Velocirapters in their pen in Jurassic Park. My children are wonderfully bright. But precocious as heck.

Sometimes my mood goes from zero to 100 and back all in one hour. How can my mood swing so dramatically based on parenting? Yet it does.

Somedays, like today, I think about all my friends still in the trenches and I grit my teeth.

I think: I am lucky. I am lucky.

***

I am lucky.

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Filed under Discovering joy, Family

The Beauty of Life

Oh, boy. This weekend, it kinda blew. Ear infections, tantrums, exhaustion, etc.

I will spare you all the details, because my Mom and some friends made it better.

Amidst the chaos and the difficulties, as always, there was beauty. I struggle to express the beauty I see without feeling like I am sugar-coating life and making it less authentic. But, beauty is always there. It is. And the more I notice it, the better I feel.

We ate that freaking delicious (if wonky) cake all weekend long: it actually tasted better with each day that passed.

We spent one last day at the beach.

Our tree continues its yearly odyssey into winter. Trees losing their leaves? Beautiful, but it is a display of loss. Maybe the finiteness of life makes me enjoy the display. But I blushed with pleasure when our neighbor told us how much they enjoy watching our tree from their living room window. I’m glad something we have brings beauty into someone else’s life.

I’m in PHASE TWO of The You Project. Which is: trying to change each negative thought I have into a positive. At first it was difficult, but today I’m finding it much easier. The more you do it, the more it becomes a pattern.

For example, Jjiraffe’s internal monologue:

“You are letting the twins watch ‘My Little Ponies’ again. Rainbow Dash is not a positive role model. You suck.”

Positive thought insertion:

“You don’t suck. You are only letting them watch that because the preschool has had holidays 33% of the school year so far, and if you don’t do this, no laundry or dishes will get done.”

It works.

I have also been allowing myself to watch Freaks and Geeks as a treat once the twins have gone to bed. By myself. Watching each episode is like a spa treatment. How did that show only last one season?

Finally, I am freaking proud of myself for making that cake. It’s by far the most delicious dessert I have ever baked. And next time, I can double the frosting recipe and it will look as beautiful as it tasted. Practice: whether baking cakes or telling yourself what you need to hear or reminding yourself of the beauty in this world.

Practice Makes Perfect.

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Filed under Discovering joy, Family, Parenting After IF

Replacing The Bad With the Good

One of the exercises I’m really liking from Keiko Zoll’s The You Project (the best $7.50 I’ve spent in AGES, by the way) is writing down the negative things I think about myself during the day.

There are a lot of them.

Most fall within a specific pattern: I tend to feel I let others down, then I feel guilty about it.

Darcy had a birthday and we make a big deal about birthdays around here. I spent 4 1/2 hours baking him a homemade chocolate cake with buttercream frosting. In a way, cake-making might be the biggest nightmare out there for perfectionists who are hard on themselves. (Remember how baking a cake caused one character to have a nervous breakdown in “The Hours?”) The cake tasted incredible, but it looked in a word: WONKY. I didn’t make enough of the buttercream frosting so it wasn’t covered completely. The buttercream recipe was completely fussy and required me to add very small amounts of confectioner’s sugar over the period of an hour to the butter. Again it tasted incredible. Darcy (who never holds back his words and whose opinion I care most about) loved it.

It didn’t look picture perfect.

So I was simultaneously annoyed with myself for not DOING IT RIGHT then I beat myself up because I didn’t include my kids in the baking of this cake like the French do, then I thought, why do I care so much about making things the best?

That’s a bad wormhole to go down.

In addition, I have a friend who has the worst timing in the world, at least when it comes to our friendship. She calls at the worst possible moments, shows up when I’m in the MIDDLE of something or when the house is a total wreck. I’m always explaining, it’s not me, it’s you, I’m tired, I’m sick. It’s happened enough to strain our entire friendship.

Today I woke up with the feeling that someone was sticking a dull, cheap Ikea Allen wrench deep into my left ear every 15-20 seconds. It hurt a lot. I was able to make it to a doctor’s appointment, and he quickly told me I had a nasty ear infection and I needed antibiotics.

Poor Darcy took the day off for Yom Kippur and went to services without me, drove me to the Doctor with the kids, dropped us off then went to pick up the meds.

During the doctor’s visit, my friend called. I didn’t answer. Then as soon as I got into bed, trying to amuse the kids while still feeling the dull pain of the Allen wrench, she texted me and said she was around the corner with her daughter visiting her dad.

I did not answer her text.

Readers, I hid the phone behind my pillow.

Darcy got home and said he had seen my friend at the drugstore while he was picking up my antibiotics. She was really upset and wanted to hang out. She was sick of my excuses, he could tell. He felt badly for her.

I let down a friend today. I didn’t value her friendship enough to put away my own suffering and blithely serve her the leftover chocolate cake. Which is what I should have done.

I don’t really know how to atone for this.

Keiko Zoll tells me that for each negative self-thought, I need to show myself one kindness.

So right now I write this entry, because what I love to do is write. And tomorrow, I will call my friend (even though I hate talking on the phone) and try to make it up to her.

***

Do you have negative self-thoughts? How do you ignore them/get past them?

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Filed under cooking?!?, Family